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newsclips -- Newsclips for January 13, 2012. Posted: 13 Jan 2012 14:14:54
California Air Resources Board News Clips for January 13, 2012. This is a service of the California Air Resources Board’s Office of Communications. You may need to sign in or register with individual websites to view some of the following news articles. AIR POLLUTION Bay Area air district discourages wood-burning Friday. The regional board that monitors air quality asks Bay Area residents not to burn wood on Friday. While fireplace burning is not banned, it could be unhealthy, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The agency issued several Winter Spare the Air Alerts this season because of smoky air. While the air should not become unhealthy enough to trigger another alert, the district "strongly discourages" wood fires to keep it that way. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_19729971 Judge rules innovative Bay Area development guidelines are flawed. Development review guidelines meant to cut air pollution, the first of their kind when approved in 2010, are in limbo after a judge ruled their adoption by the region's air board was flawed. One building industry leader predicted the ruling would force a rewrite of land-use guidelines that he said delay and add costs to "infill" development of homes and businesses from San Jose to Oakland and Walnut Creek. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_19730654 Martinez company settles air pollution fines. Plains Products Terminals of Martinez has agreed to pay $116,000 to settle air pollution violations at its petroleum storage site and marine terminal, regulators announced Thursday. The settlement covers seven violations between 2008 and 2011, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said. None of the violations posed a significant threat to air quality or public health, according to the air district. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_19730838 Bucket brigade evaluates toxic tour results. The results of the bucket brigade's toxic tour are in. In December, Arvin residents concerned with air quality took their own sample near composting operator Community Recycling & Resource Recovery Inc. They sent it off to a Simi Valley lab and tested the sample for dozens of sulfur gases and volatile organic compounds. This week, the group said it found "threatening" levels of hydrogen sulfide, the colorless gas that smells like rotten eggs and can, in very high concentrations, lead to death. Posted. http://www.bakersfield.com/news/local/x1794008703/Bucket-brigade-evaluates-toxic-tour-results East Kern Air Pollution Control District board will meet in Tehachapi. The January meeting of the EKAPCD Board of Directors will be held on Jan. 12, 2012, beginning at 1 p.m. at the Golden Hills Community Services District office, 21415 Reeves, Tehachapi. The meeting is open to the public. Among items to be considered by the board is a response to a Kern County Grand Jury recommendation that the district be consolidated with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. That proposal has been widely criticized. Posted. http://www.tehachapinews.com/news/local/x1105064244/East-Kern-Air-Pollution-Control-District-board-will-meet-in-Tehachapi Dust levels up in SLO County. Although San Luis Obispo County’s air quality remains much better than other parts of California, unusual weather patterns have caused a slight increase in dust levels locally. Records kept by the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District show local air quality has already violated state standards for fine particulate matter twice this year. That’s unusual, said Aeron Arlin-Genet, air district spokeswoman. Posted. http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2012/01/12/v-print/1905240/dust-levels-up-in-slocounty.html Is a county building making employees sick? Sarah Kirk made a show-stopping entrance to the county Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, her son Gavin immobile in a wheelchair that she pushed before her. Sarah Kirk addresses the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday with her son, Gavin, at her side in a wheelchair. The nine-year-old boy is perhaps the most arresting visual in the two-year insistence by county employees that there is something toxic at a Social Services Agency office building on North Eckoff Street in Orange that houses about 400 workers. Posted. http://taxdollars.ocregister.com/2012/01/13/is-a-county-building-making-employees-sick/146330/ CLIMATE CHANGE Investors see climate opportunity to make money, create jobs. UNITED NATIONS — In the language of the 450 large institutional investors meeting at a conference here Thursday, climate change is a risk to avoid and also an opportunity to make a good return on investments. The investors, who control more than $20 trillion worldwide, are looking at climate change from a business perspective even as Washington steers clear of the issue. Clean energy investments worldwide grew 5 percent in 2011 over 2010…Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/13/us-climate-investment-idUSTRE80C03S20120113 http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/12/v-print/4183833/investors-see-climate-opportunity.html Climate change not just about CO2; study says cut methane, soot to slow warming, save lives. Washington — An international team of scientists says it’s figured out how to slow global warming in the short run and prevent millions of deaths from dirty air: Stop focusing so much on carbon dioxide. They say the key is to reduce emissions of two powerful and fast-acting causes of global warming — methane and soot. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/climate-change-not-just-about-co2-study-says-cut-methane-soot-to-slow-warming-save-lives/2012/01/12/gIQAJdjytP_story.html http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/scientists-global-warming-slowed-millions-lives-saved-cutting-emissions-methane-soot-article-1.1005472 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/13/MN8C1MONRU.DTL To Slow Climate Change, Cut Down On Soot, Ozone. Politically, climate change is off this year's campaign agenda. Jobs, the economy and social issues are front and center. But scientists are working as hard as ever to figure out how much the Earth is warming and what to do about it. Some now say it's time for a new strategy, one that gets faster results. Talk to Durwood Zaelke, for example. Zaelke is a grizzled veteran of the climate wars: ..Posted. http://www.npr.org/2012/01/12/145117211/scientists-turn-focus-to-ozone-soot-to-fix-climate DIESEL EMISSIONS Grant money flows for Oakland port truckers, but for some it's too little, too late. The grant money is flowing to help Oakland Port truckers buy newer, less polluting rigs, but financial aid appears to have come too late for some drivers who found other jobs or couldn't afford to take on new debt. Friday is the deadline for port haulers with 2004 model-year trucks to apply for $10,000 truck replacement grants issued by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/localnews/ci_19731747 FUELS ‘Crunch time’ at troubled nuclear fuel plant. U.S. Enrichment Corp., which produces fuel for nuclear power plants, is having its own sort of meltdown. Disillusioned investors have wiped out 95 percent of the company’s market value since 2007. Standard & Poor’s has saddled it with a dismal CCC-plus credit rating. And USEC’s chief executive John Welch says that “clearly we’re coming to crunch time here.” When USEC was created by the U.S. government in the 1990s, the idea was to privatize the job of uranium enrichment. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/crunch-time-at-troubled-nuclear-fuel-plant/2011/12/20/gIQAIpUJwP_story.html GREEN ENERGY California sets new efficiency rules for battery chargers. California will become the first state in the nation to require greater energy efficiency in the battery chargers that millions of consumers use to power their cellphones, laptops, power tools and other electrical devices. The California Energy Commission on Thursday unanimously approved new standards for battery chargers, which the agency says waste nearly two-thirds of the energy they collect. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/13/4184722/california-sets-new-efficiency.html http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-energy-vampires-20120113,0,6391528.story http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/13/BUAB1MOQFA.DTL http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120113/A_NEWS/120119943 Boxer urges SoCal Edison to expedite renewable energy projects. In a letter to SCE's president, the senator chastises the utility for delays that have left solar projects sitting idle in national parks and forests. Sen. Barbara Boxer on Thursday urged Southern California Edison to expedite agreements with national parks and forests so that millions of dollars in renewable energy projects can begin producing electricity. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-solar-boxer-20120113,0,317264.story Vestas Jobs Threat Pressures Obama to Extend Tax Break. Vestas Wind Systems A/S’s threat to fire 1,600 workers in the U.S. undermines President Barack Obama’s goal of creating green jobs and adds to pressure on Congress to extend a tax credit that the industry relies on. The world’s biggest maker of wind turbines said yesterday it will probably reduce its staff beyond the 2,335 posts it’s eliminating worldwide if the U.S. doesn’t renew the so-called Production Tax Credit, which expires at the end of this year. Posted. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-13/vestas-jobs-threat-pressures-obama-to-extend-tax-break.html MISCELLANEOUS Chief executive of high-speed rail project steps down. Roelof van Ark's departure raises new questions about the controversial project's stability. At the same time, Thomas Umberg announces he is leaving as chairman of the project's board. The political and management challenges facing California's bullet train project grew more complicated Thursday, when the chief executive of the $98.5-billion effort suddenly announced his resignation, just months before construction was supposed to begin. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0113-bullet-resign-20120113,0,7586034.story http://www.mercurynews.com/california-budget/ci_19730194 http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/13/4184727/rail-projects-chief-board-chairman.html OPINIONS Protect natural resources — phase out dirty fuels. The recent ruling by a federal judge to block California's landmark Low Carbon Fuel Standard is a huge blow to our state's efforts to dramatically reduce global warming pollution that threatens people, wildlife and natural resources across the state. Fuels that run our vehicles are the second biggest source of carbon emissions in the U.S., and our clean energy future depends on phasing out dirty fuels like tar sands and phasing in clean fuels. Posted. http://www.lodinews.com/opinion/letters/article_161dfeb6-c8c2-5688-8235-38c7a9862e2a.html ELIAS: New effort on better cars draws usual misguided opposition. If California highways and parking lots of 2025 look considerably different from today's, it will probably be because they'll contain almost 1.5 million more hybrid cars and trucks, hydrogen-driven vehicles and plug-in hybrids that run mostly on electricity except on long trips. That's the vision behind the latest set of proposed rules rolled out by the California Air Resources Board even as the Republican chairman of the main investigative committee in the House of Representatives seeks to drag it into hearings about whether it is exceeding its mission. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/columnists/elias/elias-new-effort-on-better-cars-draws-usual-misguided-opposition/article_fac4364e-f6e3-5b3d-989c-1dc6a0284934.html Letter: There is hope for renters. As a renter, I definitely would prefer if my home were in a building that was smoke-free. Most of my neighbors would agree because secondhand smoke is a toxic pollutant and a serious health threat. The U.S. Surgeon General recently stated there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure. Also, in 2006 the California Air Resources Board designated secondhand smoke as a toxic air contaminant, in the same category as car exhaust and many factory emissions. Posted. http://www.chicoer.com/opinion/ci_19734519 How Environmental Protection Fares in Governor's Budget . Planning & Conservation League. Last week, due to a technical glitch, the Brown Administration unintentionally released the Governor’s proposed budget a few days earlier than expected. Through $10.3 billion in cuts and increased revenues, the proposed budget would close a $9.2 billion deficit, compared to last year's $26 billion gap, and build a $1.1 billion reserve. The most severe cuts will be inflicted on CalWORKs, Medi-Cal, child care, and the Cal Grant Program. Posted. http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/site/comment/reply/9751 Far-reaching effects of refining regs. While the American electorate and media were focused on the Iowa caucuses at year’s end, and are now fixated on the early presidential primaries, a serious — potentially devastating — problem is brewing that could affect every driver and other users of refined petroleum products in the U.S. The warning signs came in late 2011, when two major oil companies — Sunoco and ConocoPhilips — announced that they were closing three oil refineries in the Northeast. This means the loss of more than 50 percent of the refining capacity in that region. Posted. http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=6BBA4B3A-E0C4-4A28-80CB-294377477C60 BLOGS On Our Radar: Reducing Soot and Methane. Adam Ferguson for The New York TimesSoot from early-morning cooking fires in a village in Uttar Pradesh, India. Reiterating that carbon dioxide need not be the only focus, an international team of scientists suggests 14 ways of controlling emissions of methane and soot, from cleaning up cookstoves to changing cultivation methods for rice paddies. If adopted more widely, the scientists calculate, these methods would reduce projected global warming by 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2050. [Associated Press]. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/13/on-our-radar-reducing-soot-and-methane/?pagemode=print Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plan Clears Hurdle. Royal Dutch Shell has been on a six-year crusade to drill in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast, and has spent about $4 billion on the effort so far without drilling a single well. But the company took one more bureaucratic baby step forward this week toward drilling in the Chukchi Sea later this year. An appeals board of the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday rejected four challenges brought by the environmental groups like Alaska Native Peoples and Earthjustice to block Clean Air Act permits covering airborne emissions from industrial operations. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/13/shells-arctic-drilling-plan-clears-hurdle/?ref=science Savings May Come Soon Under New Fuel Economy Standard. Consumer group says 54.5 mpg by 2025 a win for drivers & car makers. Gasoline prices hit record highs in 2011 and for the first time last year, the cost of gas equaled or exceeded even the cost of owning a vehicle: on average, the roughly $2,800 dollars that a household spent at the pump was more than a year’s worth of car payments. Crunching the numbers on a hypothetical new car purchase 13 years from now, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) says what we’ll save in gas will more than cover the extra spent on new fuel-saving technologies — an $800 savings even at the end of a five-year loan. Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2012/01/12/new-fuel-economy-standard-savings-come-soon/ Climate Change and Coastal Communities: Facing the Rising Tide. As the water rises, a documentary maker ponders why people aren’t more concerned. Opinion by Claire Schoen. I recently dug out an old letter which I had written to my Dad back in 1982. “Have you heard about this thing called Global Warming?” I asked. Back in the 80’s, I was already aware of what is now referred to as “climate change.” So why is it that so few Americans understand this threat today? In fact, America is in retreat on the subject. Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2012/01/12/climate-change-and-coastal-communities-facing-the-rising-tide/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kqed%2FClimateWatchBlog+%28KQED%27s+Climate+Watch+Blog%29 Court’s Latest Stay of Clean Air Regulations Shows the Best Can Be the Enemy of the Good. On December 30, The U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C. stayed implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which was to take effect on January 1, 2012. The EPA maintains that CSAPR would save 13,000 to 34,000 premature deaths annually, as well as lead to improvements in visibility in national and state parks…Posted. http://www.economonitor.com/dolanecon/2012/01/12/court%E2%80%99s-latest-stay-of-clean-air-regulations-shows-the-best-can-be-the-enemy-of-the-good/ Putting a Price Tag on Whales Won't Save Them. This week American scientists proposed a market-based approach to “saving” whales: set tradable quotas for them. Establishing a “cap and trade” market for whaling – while academically interesting – is a terrible idea. It would legalize commercial whaling, which has been banned by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) since the moratorium on commercial whaling took effect in 1986. Posted. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/tkiekow/putting_a_price_tag_on_whales.html Direct Data from Largest US Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Available Online for First Time. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data direct from the largest emitters in the US are being made available for the first time ever via a new online database from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The 2010 GHG data released Jan. 11 by the EPA accounts for 80% of total US GHG emissions for the year. Public information from more than 6,700 entities organized across facilities in nine industry groups and 29 source categories that directly emit large quantities of GHGs … Posted. http://cleantechnica.com/2012/01/13/direct-data-from-largest-us-sources-of-greenhouse-gas-emissions-available-online-for-first-time/